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Adjustment of Resource Exploitation in European Cooperative Pastoral Systems: Impact of External Changes on the Efficiency of Implemented Institutions and Utilisation Rights

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Gueydon, Anne; Roeder, Norbert; Hoffmann, Helmut
Conference: The Commons in an Age of Global Transition: Challenges, Risks and Opportunities, the Tenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Oaxaca, Mexico
Conf. Date: August 9-13
Date: 2004
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1810
Sector: Grazing
Region: Europe
Subject(s): IASC
grazing--case studies
pastoralism
agriculture--policy
land tenure and use
livestock
institutional analysis
Abstract: "European biodiversity significantly depends on large scale livestock systems with low input levels. In most countries such forms of grazing are organised in permanent or seasonal cooperations (land-owner/land- user agents) and covers different landscape such as forests, pastures, mires and even arable land. The reason for the emergence of cooperative structures was to limit the access of individuals to the resource in order to prevent over-exploitation. Its aim was also to provide large-scale areas facilitating the grazing of big flocks with low costs. Today, the existence of these structures is threatened due to changes in agricultural land-use practices and inappropriate governmental policies. "At first some basic characteristics and the trends of development of the systems are presented. The present paper investigates five livestock systems with varying degrees of cooperation in different European countries and landscapes. These systems are reindeer husbandry in Northern Fennoscandia, sedentary sheep grazing in Central Spain, cattle grazing in the German and Swiss Alps and sheep grazing in the Polish Tatra Mountains. These systems show very heterogeneous organisational patterns in their way of exploiting the pastoral resources and different degree of resource exploitation. "A comparative analysis of the organisation and structural form of the grazing systems presents the role different groups of actors play in these systems and their inter-relationships. Further, the economic implications of the legal definitions of the forage resources and the institutions dealing with the resource exploitation are presented. This leads to an analysis of the way the resource is managed and exploited. "The investigated systems range from ones with a relatively rigid internal structure and rule system, like in Entlebuch and Upper Bavaria, ones with a high degree of governmental involvement, like in Central Spain and in Northern Fennoscandia, and ones which are relatively unbounded by any formal regulations, Poland. "The last section the analysis shows how the systems react to constantly changing economical, environmental, social, technical or legal settings. Adjustment to these external changes entails a modification of the type of good of the resource under management and consequently of the way of managing the resource. For the efficiency of the system the balance between property rights, internal structures, public regulations and institutions has to be maintained."

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